Bob Poole is on a mission to help elephants in Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park. One of the world’s leading wildlife cinematographers, Poole grew up in East Africa with his sister, Joyce, now a renowned elephant researcher. His unique upbringing gave him an appreciation and curiosity for the natural world, a highly adventurous spirit, and a strong sense of self-reliance. Students will learn about the issues facing elephants and other African wildlife and witness the dramatic rebirth of one of Africa's great parks through the eyes of an award-winning cinematographer.


Use the resources in this collection to prepare your students for their upcoming National Geographic Live student matinee experience. Use the ideas before the show to introduce students to Bob Poole and the topics (animals, conservation, Africa) that he will discuss during the show. Use the ideas after the show to extend the learning. 


Before the Show

  • Have students review Bob Poole’s biography using the links in the Explore More tab on this page. 
  • Download and print the provided map or use the MapMaker Interactive to explore the area in which Poole’s work takes place.  
  • Have students read the conservation encyclopedic entry. Lead a class discussion about conserving resources.     
  • Familiarize students with the ecosystems that the speaker will describe using the provided African Savanna Community Web activity. 
  • Provide each student with a KWL Chart. Introduce the program they will attend, who the speaker is, and a brief description of what the speaker’s topic(s) will be. Have students fill out the What I Know and What I Want to Know columns of the KWL Chart. Have them fill out the What I Learned column after the show. 
  • Use the graphic organizer collection to select a graphic organizer to help your students organize their questions and new knowledge before, during, and after the program. For example: 
    • Download and print the T Chart. Have students label the left column with Questions I Have and the right column with Answers and then conduct research about the speaker and speaker topic ahead of the program. Have students record answers to their questions during or after the program. Have students conduct research to complete any unanswered questions for homework. 
    • Download and print the provided Five Ws Chart. Have each student bring their copy to the matinee program and take notes. 

After the Show 

  • Watch the video, A Natural History of the African Elephant, and discuss the questions provided on that page as a class. Ask: How does Bob Poole’s work relate to the video? 
  • Use the Explorer Comparisons worksheet and have a class discussion to help students make connections between themselves and Bob Poole. Distribute the worksheet to students before the presentation and review the directions with them. Review any terms that they are unfamiliar with. After the presentation, have students share the notes that they took during the show. Have a class discussion about attitudes and skills and how students demonstrate them in their everyday lives. Have students record their personal examples on the worksheet. 
  • Review the continents, countries, or areas that the speaker presented. Ask: What continents, countries, or areas does the speaker work in? Have younger students imagine that these places were characters in the stories that Bob Poole shared. Ask: What role did place play in Bob Poole’s story? Why was location important to the story? How did the characteristics of the place influence the story? 
  • Discuss and define any unfamiliar terminology that the speaker used. Ask: What vocabulary words did Bob Poole use that were new to you? Invite volunteers to write the words on the board, and have the class define them as a group using information they learned from the speaker or through research. If desired, have students record unfamiliar terminology during the show on one half of a T Chart. Then, have them write the definitions on the other side following this class discussion. 
  • Have a class discussion about the attitudes National Geographic explorers embody. Ask: What attitudes did Bob Poole talk about today? In what ways did Bob Poole demonstrate curiosity, responsibility, empowerment, and persistence in his work? Why do you think these attitudes are important for explorers? Students can use their Five Ws Chart for reference and a graphic organizer to organize their ideas.
  • Have a whole-class brainstorm on how students can make changes or support the speaker’s work. Ask: What, if any, call to action did the speaker ask you to make? How can you implement any changes in your day-to-day life? What can we work on together as a group? 

management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.


community and interactions of living and nonliving things in an area.


environment where an organism lives throughout the year or for shorter periods of time.


hard, white substance that forms the teeth or tusks of some animals.


tropical ecosystem filled with trees and underbrush.

national park

geographic area protected by the national government of a country.


type of tropical grassland with scattered trees.

wildlife trafficking
poaching or other taking of protected or managed species and the illegal trade in wildlife and their related parts and products.